I woke up this morning unaware of the holiday. Sleepy, I begged Evelyn for 20 more minutes of sleep, but before we could come to a compromise Isaac began crying. I had no choice but to get up. I got Evelyn breakfast, and the cartoons rolling. I let Maggie outside. I feed Isaac a bottle, and put on his clothes. I started to get ready myself when Evelyn popped into the bathroom asking for a M&M cookie. I replied that a cookie wasn't a very good breakfast choice. She asked if she could have one later. And then the truth comes out that I had actually eaten the last of the cookies. . .oops. She starts to cry, and then Isaac starts to cry, and then it hit me.
Happy Mother's Day.
Filled with self pity we made it to church half way through the first worship song (not bad if I do say so myself). And it was here, in the midst of my faith community, I received more than one bouquet of flowers, numerous cards, an angel which signified courage, an invitation to spend mother's day with a friend, and far too many heartfelt hugs to count. On top of all this there were two men in leadership bending over backwards to ease the stresses in my life (and these two were just from today. Each leadership family has given to me their time, skills, and resources without a moment's hesitation over these last three months).
When I got home and started unpacking my diaper bag filled with all my mother's day gifts I became so over joyous that I have the opportunity to be part of a church so filled with God's love it literally oozes from the front door. It was the one reason Matt kept coming back. He would repeat over and over how much he just liked the people (stereo-typing most church goers along the way, but none the less). He saw it. As a body, through the Spirit, these people showed Matt who Jesus was. They continue to show Jesus to me every week. I hope that is what I am reflecting as well.
Our church has been without a lead pastor for almost two years. . .we are just three years old. To say we've had it hard would not begin to describe the turmoil we've seen, felt, and been through. Our numbers have dwindled, our finances are tight, and we fill the pulpit with whomever we find available, and yet, here we are. The love for each other hasn't changed. Our hope to reach others for Jesus has not slowed. Our community outreach remains active. Our prayer warriors fight. Our youth remains beautiful, active, and bonded. And our leadership? Continue to amaze us all.
This is what a church should look and feel like. People who love each other like family. People who want a church to be about what it looks like to be a body of Christ. People who aren't swayed by who is in lights on Sunday mornings. And part of this battle is about to end, since come July 1 we have a new pastor joining us. We are thrilled. I'm sure this won't be the end of what we will have to go through in order to become what God is calling us for, but it is a step in the right direction.
If I can say one thing, it is this. . .if you live in Scott County and don't have a church I am inviting you to LifePrint. If you have a church, but there are times you wonder if God is really there Sunday morning, I'm inviting you to come meet Him at LifePrint, because man does He show up each week without fail. I realize most of my readers aren't near me in location, but I don't think that is the heart of it. The heart of my message is this: saying you are a Christian and skipping out on church for whatever tired excuse we each may use from time to time is not reason enough.
Be part of a church, of a community. It is essential to our faith walk here on Earth, we are called to do it. Have church in a basement, or a bar, or a school, or a warehouse, or a shopping mall (shout out Mars Hill;), but have church! These people, this church, this belonging is your connection to the body of Christ. You alone will fall short. You alone will not be able to discern. You alone will let doubt and temptation overcome you. And, God forbid, you encounter a loss on this fallen Earth similar to my own you alone would not make it through. My family, friends, co-workers, and so many more have poured it out to me in ways I can not describe, and I don't want to take from that in any way. This isn't about that, this is about what it feels like to be a living in this time, in this culture, and knowing you are part of this church described by Paul in Romans 12. I am part of that church, and it helps me to grow with Jesus, it is fundamental, it is transforming, and it is life giving!
Finding a church can be hard, I've been there. Insecurities we hold to in regards to what others may think. Thinking we aren't good enough because of past mistakes. Just walking in the door can seem unbearable at times. But do it anyway. Do it for yourself, for your marriage, for your children. It may take a while. And when you do find the one it will probably be hard. The body of Christ is worth fighting for. It is worth being a part of. It is one thing we are called to do.
Thank you to LifePrint Church for showing me Jesus each and everyday, and to God for leading me to them!